by John Edison Ubaldo
The University of the Philippines squandered an 11-point lead midway in the second frame and succumbed to a 67-59 loss to Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP Season 76 Men’s Basketball Tournament Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The win improved six-peat-seeking Ateneo’s win-loss card to 4-4 while UP continued on their slump at 0-8.
“We did not give up even though we were down in the first quarter even the second quarter. If there is one thing that brought out better in us was that attitude that we did not give up,” said Ateneo Head Coach Bo Perasol on their win.
Guard Kiefer Ravena continued his consistent recovery from injury, scattering 14 points on top of 14 boards to lead a spirited comeback from a double digit deficit.
The Maroons were ahead 21-14 after the opening period and was still leading by 11 after a Sam Marata triple, 33-22, going into the 3:45 mark of the second frame.
But the Eagles closed out the first half on an 11-1 onslaught capped by a Juami Tiongson trey to cut the lead back to one, 34-33.
Ateneo sustained the momentum and rode Ravena’s heroic display who completed a three-point play to kiss their first taste of the lead at 36-34.
UP responded with a run of their own to surge ahead on center Raul Soyud’s jumper, 39-38.
But the Eagles were not to be outdone as they steadied their defense and offense keeping UP at bay by at least eight points the rest of the way.
Forward Marata lead all scorers with 15 points, all from rainbow country, but he only converted 2 of his eight treys in the final two quarters.
Ateneo’s defense forced UP to work for their shots converting only 29.6 percent from beyond the arc after a torrid 50 percent shooting in the first half. The Maroons also converted only 35.9 percent of their field goals despite posting a 42.9 percent clip in the first half.
UP will next face UE on Wednesday, August 21, 2pm at the Mall of Asia Arena.
ADMU 67 – Ravena 14, Tiongson 11, Newsome 11, Buenafe 7, Golla 6, Erram 6, Elorde 4, Capacio 4, Tolentino 2, Pessumal 2, Murphy 0, Enriquez 0, Asistio 0.
UP 59 – Marata 15, Lao 9, Asilum 8, Wong 5, Soyud 5, Gingerich 4, Desiderio 4, Pascual 3, Gallarza 3, Ligad 2, Ball 1.
Quarter scores: 14-21, 33-34, 53-47, 67-59